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View Tree for Dafydd 'Gam' ap Llewelyn SirDafydd 'Gam' ap Llewelyn Sir (b. Abt. 1355, d. 1415)

Dafydd 'Gam' ap Llewelyn Sir (son of Llewelyn ap Hywel and Mawd verch Ieuan) was born Abt. 1355 in Peutun, Llan-ddew, Breconshire, Wales, and died 1415 in Agincourt, France. He married Gwenllian verch Gwilym.

 Includes NotesNotes for Dafydd 'Gam' ap Llewelyn Sir:
History of the Gaines Surnname

The name Gaines is said to have had its origin in Wales. The
story begins with David-ap-Lllewellyn, a courageous soldier, who
was mortally wounded on the battlefield in 1415, while saving
the life of King Henry V. Just before David's death, he was
knighted by the king. David had a squint eye and it was with the
term indicating the squint eye that he was knighted.
David-ap-Lllewellyn became Sir David Gam.

Descendants of David Gam made changes and the name became Games
and still later Ganes, Gaynes and Gaines.

Owen Glyndwr, standing in front of the mansion of his enemy and
would-be murderer, Dafydd Gam, turned to Gam's bailiff, also
looking on, and addressed him in an englyn (stanza), of which
the above is a translation. The hero of Wales now was Glyndwr,
and it seemed as if indeed he would soon be the King of Gwalia.
He had called to-gether his Parliament at Machynlleth in
1402--Four men from each "Cantrev," or "cwmwd" (an old district
division of Wales)-- to consider his plans for the future. Among
the Welchmen who attended, one came with a traitor's
purpose--Dafydd Gam, a landowner near Brecon, in whose family
were some famous warriors. His great-grandfather had fought at
Crecy and Poictiers, In France, in 1346 and 1356, respectively.
"Gam," in Welsh, means "crooked," and the name seems to have
been given to this man from a "squint," or "cast," in his eye.
He was a native of Breconshire, whose ancestors appear to have
been wealthy, and supporters of the Kings of England. The date
of is birth cannot be decided: but he was about sixty years of
age at the Battle of Agincourt (France) in 1415. His name in
Full was Dafydd ap Llewelyn ap Howel otherwise known as Dafydd
Gam, or "Squint-eyed David." From his extensive lands and
wealth, he is also known as the squire of Breconshire. In his
veins, was Norman and Welsh blood, and we are glad to state this
for his cruel nature and unpatriotic spirit, make every true
Cymro regret, that one of their kinsmen whould have been a
traitor and a murderer. Dafydd was a short, but very strong man,
long-armed, with red hair, and a cast in his eye. His fiery
temper and brutal spirit caused him to murder, in the strees of
Brecon, his countryman: Richard, Lord of Slwch. For this, he had
to excape out of the country, and he was recieved into the
household of John of Gaunt, where Henry Bolingbroke, afterwards
Henry IV, and he became fast friends. While he was here, it is
probable, that these two met Owen Glyndwr, who at one time had
been esquire to Bolingbroke, against whom he fought so long.
When Sir Dafydd Gam was in Breconshire he held his lands under
Henry IV, who was Earl of Hereford and Lord of Brecon: hence he
became one of the "King's men". He was one of the most daring
men of the day, and like a lion in bravery, but in Owen Glyndwr
he had his match. The certain death to which Gam exposed
himself, in his plot at Machynlleth, shows his fearless heart:
and if his spirt were directed along honourable line, he would
be placed in the front rank of the heroes of our nation. The
foul plot however, failed. Gam got into the trap himself, he was
seized, and doomed to the cruel fate which the nature of the
crime deserved. His life would have been taken, only Owen's
friends pleaded hard for the prisoner, and, instead of the
gallows, he was kept in prison for ten yers. This was perhaps a
more severe torture to a man for his spirit than death. The
King, Henry IV, at last paid a heavy ransom for the liberty of
his squire, and upon promising to lay down all arms againts
Owen, Dafydd Gam was once more a free man.

Lady Gwladys, daughter of Sir David Gam, and widow of Sir Roger
Vaughan, of Bredwardine, became the second of wife of Sir
William ap Thomas, the ancestor of all the noble families the
Herberts: in Saint Mary's Church, Abergavenny, is an alsbaster
altar, richly wrought, and supporting effigies of Sir William
(who died in 1446) and of the Lady Gwladys (who died in 1454).
Here, perhaps a few words about Sir David, "our great county
hero"- and Shakespeare's "Fluellen" in "Henry IV," will not be
out of place. "Fluellen," says Hazlitt, "is the most
entertaining character in the piece. He is good-natured, brave,
choleric, and pedantic." David Llewellyn, or Dafydd ap
Llewellyn, generally called David Gam, was the fourth in descent
from Einion Sais (or "The Englishman"), and inherited the estate
and castle called after his ancestor "Castell Einion Sais," with
Gam made his chief dwelling. It is said he slew Richard Fawr,
Lord of Slwch, in an unhappy quarrel in the High street of
Brecknock (today Brecon), in the time of King Richard II, for
which (says Hugh Thomas) "he was obliged to leave the country
and enter into the service of the House of Lancaster, and to
which he ever after proved very faithful." He was contemporary
with Owen Glyndwr, and when he found his forces unable to oppose
Glyndwr, went as one of the Barons of Wales to a council called
by the said Owen with no other intent than that of slaying him
and so rid the country of its common disurber." The plot,
however, was discovered, and Sir David Gam, only for the
intercession of some of Glyndwr's best friend, would inevitabley
have been strung up; he was detained in prison in Machynlleth,
and afterwards liberated on parole, from whence he found his way
"to England, and honourably received by King Henry IV, and
constituted one of his captains against Owen Glyndwr." In the
meantime Owen destroyed Gam's, paternal residence, the Castle of
Poytins, and adds our manuscript authority, "I presume that of
Einion Sais, which was never re-built, though it is in the
possession of this family to this day" [1698] After the death of
Henry IV, Sir David "faithfully served his son (Henry V.) with a
gallant band of Welshman under his command in the wars in
France, and behaved with invincible courage. The French prided
themselves on their numbers, while the English were dejected
through their want of men. Sir David was sent to take a view of
the enemy's army; he being asked after his return what news he
had, undauntedly told the king: "may it please your Majesty,-and
which words he delievered with such grace that notwithstanding
his age and deformity the king read victory in his countenance,
nor was he deceived in his expectations. Sir David Gam behaved
with so much courage at this battle of Agincourt, that he slew
the Duke of Nevers and with his own hand, and as a trophy of his
victory bore away his arms, which ever after were used by his
successors. After the battle, the news was brough to the the
king that Gam was on the point of death, and thus he commanded
Sir Thomas Erpingham- "Now lead me where he lieth, and these
French dukes shall see, in the death I can reward the man who
bravely fights for me." After the battle Sir David was knighted
as a prelude to the greater honours, but he sood died of this
wounds, some say on the battlefield, but at all events in the
the year 1415. Evidently in Hugh Thomas's day the charitable
inhabitants of Brecknock looked upon David Gam as a hero, but in
these degenerate times the brave old has been pulled off his
pedestal, called "traitor," and rolled in the dirt of modern
criticism. "To save the king he gave his life, What could he
then do more " Gam's friendship for his king was certainly

"Sir David Gam" hence, then, it appears, that one of Peytyns at
least was in the possessions of this family long prior to the
birth of Lleweyn, who therefore must either have purchased the
Peytyns from one of his own relations, or else if any one of the
descendants of Sir Richard Peyton sold them, he must have taken
a Welsh name and had long lost his Norman appellation: be this
as it may, David ap Llewelyn, though the third son of the
purchaser, certainly resided during the early part of his life
at Peytyn Gwin: the precise year of his birth cannot be
ascertained. Pennant says his competitor Glyndwr was born in
1350: Sir David was probably some years his junior, or he would
have been of two advanced a period in life to have appeared as a
warrior at Agincourt in 1415, when personal strength was of
essential consequence in battle. At the same time it must be
observed that it is probable he could not have been under
fifty-five or sixty years of age at this memorable victory, for
he had several children and even grandchildren at the time he
embarked in the expedition to France. He was athletic in person,
his hair red, and he squinted, from whence he was called Dafydd
Gam. Cam generally mean crooked, but from long habit and a
perversion of the language, when applied to the person it
implies any defect in the limbs or features. Powel, in his
"History of Wales," has taken care not only to record this
deformity, but he wishes his readers to believe that nature has
perpetuated it, and that all his family continue to squint to
this day!! It is unnesessary to deny so absurd an assertion;
from portraits of some of the family still remaining, it appears
that so far from being distinguished by this unfortuntunate
obliquity of vision, many of them were remarkably handsome and
their features perfectly regular. It is however, not a little
extraordinary that the Welsh should, in this instance, as they
have in many others, seize upon this peculiarity, and preserve
it as a memento in the family, of the imperfection of the person
of their ancestor; yet thus it is perpetually, and while the
common named of Morgan, Thomas, Gwilym, etc, are ringing the
changes and shifting places continually, the names of Gwyn,
Llwyd, Coch, Cam, fair, grey headed, red headed, squinting etc.,
remain steadily in the respective families to which they have
been applied, as long as they remain. Nay, we have an instance
where even a filty disease has conferred a surname which the
descendants of the person afflicted seem to feel no anxiety or
wish to conceal.

observes that Sir David Gam held his estate of the honor
Hereford, that he had long been in the service of Bolingbroke
and was firmily attatched to his interest: when it is
recollected that Henry the Fourth was earl of Hereford an lord
of Brecon in the time of Sir David Gam, we shall not be at a
loss to discover the motives which governed his political
conduct, but the first public act of his life consigns to his
memory a load of infamy, which his death will barely remove.
Instead of attacking the enraged lion of Gwynedd in the field,
instead of hurling defiance against his adversary, in audible
language and in the open day, he came like a midnight assassin
to the court of Glyndwr, and sought to serve his employer by
removing a tr ublesome insurgent at the expense of his own
character and future happiness. This iniquitous attempt was made
in 1402, when Owen was holding his parliament at Machynlleth in
Montgomeryshire. "At this meeting (says Mr. Pennant) he narrowly
escaped assass nation. Amoung the chieftains who came to support
his title was a gentleman called David Gam or the one eyed; his
cause that he appeared at the assembly with the secret and
treacherous resolution of murdering his prince and
brother-in-law. Carte says he was instigated to it by Henry, but
gives no authority; party zeal or hopes of reward, probably
determined him to so nefarious a deed: he was a fit instrument
for the purpose, a man of unshaken courage which was afterwards
put to the proof, in the followin reign, at the battle of
Agincourt. In this account there is too much truth, and the
tale, unfortunately for fame of Sir David Gam, is too well
attested by Powel and other authors to be denied, but Pennant is
incorrect, when he says he had but one eye, an as we should give
even the devil his due, he is equally mistaken, when he tells us
that Glyndwr was his prince or his brother-in-law; he owed him
no allegiance, nor was he in anywise of affinity or connected
with him: his journey to Machynlleth, therefor , must have been
to offer assistance and not to do homage. Sir David Gam married
a daughter of a gentleman of considerable landed property,
resident in Elvel, on the banks of the Wye, in Radnorshire;
Glyndwr's wife was a daughter of the Sir David Hanmer, whose
only sister, Morfydd, married David ap Ednyfed Gam, a North
Wales nobleman, descended from Tudor Trevor. The courage of Sir
David Gam is unquestionable, yet Mr. Pennant was wrong when for
that reason he suppose him to fit instrument for the purpose of
assassination, and though Sir David was prevailed upon to debase
himself by his dark design, in general a brave man, who trembles
only at the thoughts of cowardly act, is very ill calculated to
assist in the perpetration of a midnight murder.

More About Dafydd 'Gam' ap Llewelyn Sir:
Record Change: February 03, 2001

Children of Dafydd 'Gam' ap Llewelyn Sir and Gwenllian verch Gwilym are:
  1. Morgan Gam, d. date unknown.
  2. +Gwladus verch Dafydd, b. Abt. 1405, Peutun, Llan-ddew, Breconshire, Wales, d. 1454.
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